Literal translations of Chinese names for European countries

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To add on that, Deutschland (Germany) was translated as 德意志 (Moral Willpower), which was quite appropriate for a nation which was being its national identity during the 19th century, when the Chinese were translating names of the nation.

As a side note, Iowa is sometimes translated as 愛我華 (Love My China). Perhaps the Chinese authors were homesick when they were in Iowa, far from the political turmoils in China that time?

edit: as for why some of names were translated both semantically and phonetically, while some weren’t, is because in the modern period (early 20th century onwards), fewer and fewer scholars studied in classical Chinese. In classical Chinese, one can express more concepts in fewer words (as a character can have different meanings depending on context), whereas in modern Chinese, this characteristic is some what lost. Those “better” translated countries were the great powers, therefore they made contact with China earlier.

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